The best of what's reactionary: the Sanders platform
In a recent discussion online, I suggested that the best we could do in this time of decline was to invoke various species of reactionary nostalgia for the past. Right now our Presidential choices involve some guy who imagines America out of some nostalgia for the 1950s being challenged by some guy who is running on nostalgia for 2016. The guy who is running on nostalgia for 2016 is co-opting the followers of a guy who ran on nostalgia for FDR.
Well, someone in this meeting asked me why I supported the agenda of Bernie Sanders, or at least the agenda he had before he got caught up in this "task force" stuff, if I thought it was all reactionary. I responded that some of Sanders' agenda was composed of things we needed right away and that the primary focus needed to be upon disrupting the "Two-Party System" which empowers blindly-loyal (D) and (R) voters at the expense of everyone else and which empowers the plutocrats who lease their politicians while co-opting their NGOs. I therefore support the Movement for a People's Party even though the best they can come up with (for now) is the idea of starting a new political party based on the Bernie Sanders agenda.
At any rate, these are the parts of the Bernie Sanders agenda which I think are worth demanding right now:
1) Medicare for All. Global protests incited by the cold-blooded murder of George Floyd, including their backlash, are going to be spreading COVID-19 some more. The hospitals can't be throwing people out because they don't have insurance, and people can't be staying away from the hospitals because they know they'll be BANKRUPTED by the current system if they seek medical attention. We, therefore, need Medicare for All.
2) College for All. There's a lot of crappy criticism of this sort of thing floating around the Internet. "They won't learn anything in high school if they know that everyone can get into college and if they know it will be free" is the summation of all that crappy criticism. All the crappy criticism starts out from the same crap premise: students will only learn something if there's money in it. That premise is the reason why our public school systems and college systems are all crap now. We need colleges where people can put in the time and effort to solve our planet's most pressing problems without worrying if there's any sort of immediate payoff for what they're doing. "College for All" is the down payment upon those colleges.
I am not going to include the Green New Deal in this list, at least not yet. The Green New Deal might be a good thing if it were subject to a national debate and thought through so that it wouldn't be just a project for handing some rich corporations money to build solar panels with rare-earth metals which might not even be there (see e.g. "Planet of the Humans" -- oh, that's right, you can't, it's been taken down)
At any rate, my opinion on this is that we need some sort of utopian revisioning of the world if we are to "crack the green nut" in any serious way. I've written it up in a piece I wrote in 2016 called "Climate Change Mitigation in Fantasy and Reality" -- the password is AddletonAP2009. I'm not dismissing the problem outright -- obviously something has to be done. But the something to be done is more likely to be something to make someone rich while we feel good about doing nothing of consequence unless and until we know precisely what it is we're going to do.
Our problems, in general, will only be solved with something visionary, visionary far beyond what you saw with Bernie Sanders. And that's going to require a "political revolution" that will have to occur without Bernie Sanders, and perhaps despite him. Right now we're at "competing species of reactionary" -- we have a long way to go. At any rate, those two planks, the ones I mentioned above, are the ones I though were worth our militancy now.
Oh, and as for the protests, I yield the floor to Margaret Atwood: